Tokyo Shitamachi Projects is proud to present its first group exhibition, titled “Home sweet home”.
When the hospitality company AirBnB reached out to two of their French customers if they could host an executive party at their Paris apartment, the couple happily obliged. However, a year after the seemingly ordinary event took place, they found out that their guests did not only enjoy their stay, but that the company had effectively designed a space in its San Francisco headquarters to strikingly resemble their home – even exactly copying pictures they had hung up in their kitchen. Subsequently, the couple sued AirBnB for infringing their product, that is “the way they curated the objects in their apartment”, complaining that “they are branding their company with our life.”¹
However, AirBnB’s ruse comes as no surprise, considering that their business models is exactly that: to create the global, ubiquitous model living room which its customers never have to leave on their travels. Consequently, AirBnB assimilates locally contained stylistic varieties of whatever is thought to constitute coziness in order to define and standardise its own corporate interpretation. Rather than cherishing diversity, AirBnB has created a baseline standard of living, a bare minimum arrangement of furniture and amenities. In addition to helping to seize living space from tense housing markets, AirBnB effectively anonymises them, even when there are still regular tenants.
For “Home sweet home”, thirteen artists reflect on contemporary modes of living, displacement and squatting. Employing a wide range of media, their perspectives range from tongue-in-cheek humour to deep contemplation and precise critique.
¹ Kyle Chayka: French couple sues Airbnb for copying their apartment. New York Magazine Intelligencer, 19th November 2015.